Drawing lots for the Palio, Siena

I was commenting on a recent post of Andrew Petcher’s at Have Bag, Will Travel where we were discussing happy discoveries, and I happened to mention turning up in Siena one evening when they were drawing lots for the Palio (more info here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palio_di_Siena). The hotel man suggested I leg it down to the main square, where I would be just in time…

Off I went to find a packed square, a raucous appreciative crowd, and an interesting spectacle. I thought I had previously posted on this, but it turns out I didn’t…and these images were from nearly 10 years ago….how time just flies.

The crowd gathers

Starting the proceedings

A fanfare of drums

The winners are announced




  1. Such a colourful contrast with the brown buildings. It must be a sight to see indeed.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. What a large crowd! Did you get to see the horses through the throng?

  3. Ahh brilliant, having seen Senor Portillo’s program I was a but disappointed when I went to the Campo, but full of people it must have been fab.

  4. This must have been fun, even if it wasn’t the actual Palio. Siena is such a special place. I’ll never forget it. Wonderful captures, Sue!

  5. I love Siena. I had the best pizza there and I love the buildings and shops, so charming and beautiful.

  6. I’ve always been interested in Siena because of the Palio, which I read about when a child in the book Gaudenzia, Pride of the Palio, by Marguerite Henry. I’ve since seen TV programs on it. What an event!! It would be quite something to see in person and as horse racing goes, it’s just crazy! the jockeys are all trying to unhorse each other, but a riderless horse can win for its contrada. Love the shots.


  7. I love the way you weave in and out of chronology, always travelling.

    • Sue

      You know, I have never thought of it that way, but you are absolutely right, Meg…. This blog is not linear, and I have never intended it to be. So, for suitable images I can have a nice nostalgic dip into past travels, near or far!

  8. What a stroke of luck! Glad you post out of turn. Makes me feel better about my random travelogues 🙂 Have a huge backlog from the past couple of years.

  9. Really want to go to Siena! Great photos.

  10. I’ve only ever seen it on TV, Sue. Splendid stuff! 🙂 🙂

  11. Saloni

    Great post! I can totally empathize as I had also seen it love! ❤ It's a life time opportunity. you may check it out here, if you'd like: https://salsescapes.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/palio_di_siena/

  12. I would love to be there for this! What fun.

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